|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 192-196
Correlation between smartphone addiction and loneliness among healthcare students
Sneha Noronha1, Renisha Fernandes1, Sandra Zacharias1, Sanika Jimmy1, Seethu Raju1, Precilla D'silva2
1 Father Muller College of Nursing, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of OBG Nursing, Father Muller College of Nursing, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
|Date of Submission||06-May-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||02-Jul-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||23-Dec-2022|
Ms. Precilla D'silva
Father Muller College of Nursing, Father Muller Road, Kankanady, Mangalore - 575 002, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background and Aim: Smartphone has become a necessity for many individuals in the present world because they find smartphone is a suitable mode to stay connected with other people. A person is said to be dependent toward smartphone when he/she is completely with mobile phone for all works of his/her daily life and forgets about the people around them. Loneliness is a state in which a person feels complete social withdrawal or lonely. To overcome loneliness, the person will use his/her smartphone excessively for various reasons throughout the day and develops addiction to the same. This study aims at finding the level of smartphone addiction and severity of loneliness among the medical professionals. The aim of the study is to find the relationship between smartphone addiction and loneliness. Materials and Methods: A descriptive design was used for the present study. The sample consisting of 318 subjects were selected by convenient sampling. The tool used was baseline pro forma, Smartphone Addiction Scale (Short Version), and University of California Los Angeles Loneliness Scale (3rd Version). Results: Majority of the participants belonged to the age group of 18–21 years, samples were selected equally from all the programs (Nursing, MBBS, and Allied Health Sciences), and majority of the participants were females and studying in II year. There was a weak positive correlation between smartphone addiction and loneliness, r = 0.269, P = 0.001, which was statistically significant. Conclusion: The study findings reveal that majority of the participants had moderate level of smartphone addiction and loneliness, and there was weak positive correlation exists between smartphone addiction and loneliness.
Keywords: Addiction, smartphone, social media, social withdrawal, technology-linked disorder
|How to cite this article:|
Noronha S, Fernandes R, Zacharias S, Jimmy S, Raju S, D'silva P. Correlation between smartphone addiction and loneliness among healthcare students. Arch Med Health Sci 2022;10:192-6
|How to cite this URL:|
Noronha S, Fernandes R, Zacharias S, Jimmy S, Raju S, D'silva P. Correlation between smartphone addiction and loneliness among healthcare students. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 5];10:192-6. Available from: https://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2022/10/2/192/364979
| Introduction|| |
The world of technology is growing day by day which gave birth to invention of numerous gadgets, and smartphone is a part of it. Smartphones are considered as one of the today's most important social media technologies used by everyone. Smartphone is a combination of services of both internet access and cell phone services. Smartphone delivers quality of various services. Android phones are modern mobile phones that have the degree of compatibility very close to the computer.
Apart from advantages of the Internet, smartphone offers a number of amenities in our lifetime. These devices provide us with facilities such as sending messages and mails, making calls, playing games, and searching information, and recently it has been widely used for attending online classes also. Therefore, it is not a surprising fact that these gadgets have become an inevitable part of our life. Although smartphone is useful, the overuse of this system has several negative impacts. Excessive use of mobile phones can lead to one of the most important social problems known as smartphone addiction. In India, the smartphone addiction magnitude ranges from 39% to 44%.
As per the definition, “addiction is nothing but changes in the action or thoughts when he/she continuously uses it.” This addiction is also classified under technology-linked disorder as per the 5th International Classification of Mental Disorder. The outcome of this disorder includes feeling lonely and social withdrawal. Generally, the rise in the use of smartphone among youth and teenagers in their daily basis has made smartphone dependency an important social morbidness within community; some of the effects caused due to enhanced use include physical health issues that are locomotor diseases, visual symptoms, and high risk of mental disorders such as lack of attention, assault, and sleeping problems. Adults are highly bound to their cell phones and they consider smartphone as their second self.
Smartphone use is not just pleasurable and decreases the sensation of pain and stress but also results in lack of control over the use, which leads to dependency. Smartphone dependency can cause difficult and unpleasant emotion to isolation. A person with less or no social interaction will be judged negatively and worthless by the society. We all start our morning routine with cell phone by checking them and then open up our life through social media. A survey that was conducted in 2014 found that 46% of the people who own cell phones emphasized that they could not live without them. At present, it is said that teenagers are safe when they incline to stay in their rooms and avoid all the parties and functions, but the number of suicides and depression disorders is increasing with an alarming rate.
Nowadays, people who get more addicted to smartphone will forget the very basic rules which they were taught by their parents and grandparents at young age. Parents feel it as the best way for getting rid when their child fights. Showing some video and making them playing games are easy way of administering food or keeping them quiet. Smartphones are user-friendly, but they can be problematic if it ends up with addiction. It is now evident that children at their growing age itself lack communication and interaction and the sense of love to others or being loved by others. As well, they develop knowledge regarding the technology and other advancements. The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the reasons for increasing the level of smartphone addiction in every individual. The social isolation that is taking place during this pandemic has led to chronic loneliness and addiction to the electronic gadgets.
To know the connection amid the loneliness and mobile phone addiction in college-going students, a correlational study was conducted at Korea among 251 students using purposive sampling. The variables of this study were measured using Gierveld Loneliness Scale, and smartphone addiction was measured using Smartphone Addiction Proneness Scale. The results show that high rate of loneliness is found with those who are addicted to smartphone when compared to those who feel less lonely. Correlational coefficient shows a positive correlation between smartphone addiction and loneliness with r = 0.295 and P = 0.000 (P < 0.05).
Loneliness acts as a mediator for any addiction. Loneliness is a disagreeable experience which is caused due to the deterioration in the quality and amount of their social interaction. Loneliness is considered as a negative feeling that results from a divergence between expected and achieved level of societal interaction. Being alone makes the person to have a feel of emptiness, unwanted, and lonely. Loneliness is a significant and a serious developmental issue in adolescence, and these age groups seek a variety of methods to cope with this issue. Young age people are more amenable to experience loneliness. To ease this, loneliness teenagers are actively assessing social media via smartphones which have become an indispensable component of our lives.
A correlational study was conducted among 356 students at Muhammadiyah University of Malang to know the addiction towards smartphone and to know the level of loneliness experienced by the adolescents. The data were assembled using Smartphone Addiction Scale and UCLA scale. A significant association was found between the addiction to the smartphone and loneliness with P < 0.05. Positive relation was shown with r = 0.227 which says that higher the level of addiction to the android phone, higher will be the loneliness experienced by the adolescents and vice versa. This study results shows that 5% of contribution toward loneliness is only by the addiction to the smartphone.
The present focus of this study is to identify the level of addiction toward these electronic gadgets and how it is affecting the student's life in terms of causing loneliness and addiction.
| Materials and Methods|| |
A descriptive research design was used in this study. Inclusion criteria were students between the age group of 18 and 35 years who use smartphone for more than 6 months and studying in a selected setting. Students studying in the I year courses were excluded due to age limit. Based on these criteria, those belong to nursing, medical, and allied health sciences were divided in an equal proportion to meet the sample size. A total of 318 students were selected using convenient sampling technique. Sample size was calculated using the following formula:
UCLA Loneliness Scale was developed by Daniel W. Russel in 1996 with the r = 0.97 and found reliable for all the age groups including health professionals. Smartphone Addiction Scale Small Version was developed by Min Kwon, Dai-Jim-Kim, Hyun Cho, and Soo Yang in 2013 with the r = 0.75 and found most reliable for adolescent group.
Formal written permission was obtained from the college authority (IEC number: FMIEC/CCM/395/2021). The study is also registered under Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI/2021/10/037283). Data were collected from June 23, 2021, to July 12, 2021. Before data collection, investigators familiarized themselves and confidentiality was maintained. Tool was administered via Google Forms.
| Results|| |
A master data sheet was prepared and the coded data were entered. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences- version 16, manufactured by IBM company, in the year 2007 was used to analyze coded data. The study results were organized as follows:
As per [Table 1] Majority of the participants were females (77.4%) belong to the age group of 18–23 years (89.94%) studying in the II year of course (37.74%).
|Table 1: Distribution of subjects according to their baseline pro forma (n=318)|
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It is clear with [Figure 1] that 66.7% of the participants had moderate level of addiction.
The mean percentage obtained in [Table 2] indicates that maximum respondents are having moderate level of loneliness.
|Table 2: Mean, mean percentage, and standard deviation of smartphone addiction (n=318)|
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Moderate (53.1%) level of loneliness [Figure 2] was observed among 318 participants.
The mean percentage obtained in [Table 3] indicates that maximum respondents are having moderate level of loneliness.
|Table 3: Mean, mean percentage, and standard deviation of severity of loneliness (n=318)|
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[Table 4] shows that the calculated r = 0.269. This suggests that there is a weak positive relationship [Figure 3] between smartphone addiction and loneliness, and the P = 0.001 which is significant at 0.05 level of significance.
|Table 4: Relationship between smartphone addiction and loneliness (n=318)|
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|Figure 3: Scatterplot showing correlation between smartphone addiction and loneliness|
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Data presented in [Table 5] reveal that the P value computed between smartphone addiction and baseline pro forma such as age (P = 0.098), gender (P = 0.346), program (P = 0.199), and batch (P = 0.082) is more than 0.05. Hence, we accept the null hypothesis and conclude that there is no significant association between baseline pro forma and smartphone addiction [Table 5].
|Table 5: Association between levels of smartphone addiction and baseline pro forma (n=318)|
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Data presented in [Table 6] reveal that the P value computed between level of loneliness and program is 0.013, whereas for other variables, the computed P value is more than 0.05. Hence, we accept the null hypothesis and conclude that there is no significant association between severity of loneliness and baseline pro forma [Table 6].
|Table 6: Association between severity of loneliness and baseline pro form (n=318)|
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| Discussion|| |
In the present study, 77.4% of the samples were females and 22.6% were males and belonged to the age group of 18–23 years. The samples were taken equally from nursing (30%), MBBS (30%), and allied health sciences (30%). Maximum respondents were studying in II year, 37.74%. In this study, smartphone addiction was assessed using Smartphone Addiction Scale Short Version, and majority of participants had moderate level of smartphone addiction (66.7%).
In a similar study conducted at nursing school in Turkey, the findings revealed that out of 682 nursing students, majority of them were females (56.9%) with age ranging from 19 to 22 years with a mean of 20.76 ± 1.72. The samples were selected based on the students who were studying in I, II, III, and IV year of the nursing program and maximum respondents were studying in IV year (32.1%). The result also revealed that the nurses are at risk of addiction to mobile phones and majority of them experience loneliness.
In the present study, the result reveals that there is a weak positive relationship between smartphone addiction and loneliness which is statistically significant (r = 0.269, P = 0.001). A similar study was conducted at University of Firat among 527 students. The results showed that there exists a weak relation co relation between the two variables which is statistically significant (r = 0.35, P < 0.05).
In our study, the P value computed between the smartphone addiction and the baseline pro forma such as age (P = 0.098), gender (P = 0.346), program (P = 0.199), and batch (P = 0.082) is >0.05. A study was conducted at Mumbai city among 150 students to know the relationship between the loneliness and the mobile phone addiction. The results showed that the smartphone addiction and the gender difference is not as such related with each other (t = 1.16, r = 0.554) and the P > 0.05 for other variables such as age and economic status. The study also revealed that both the genders experienced equal level of loneliness (t = 1.56). Thus, it can be concluded that a major relationship was found between addiction to mobile phones and loneliness.
In the present study, computed P value between loneliness and baseline pro forma such as age (P = 0.290), gender (P = 0.642), and batch (P = 0.178) is >0.05 while the program and level of loneliness (P = 0.013) is <0.05.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Pakistan among 225 students to find the relation between mobile phone addiction and depression. The result showed that age is not significant with depression (20.9 ± 2.9). The P value computed between depression and gender was 0.150. The undergraduate students showed high and positive correlation between depression (P = 0.027) and addiction to smartphone (P = 0.220) compared to postgraduate students. The depression score of undergraduate students was 14.1 ± 9.6 and postgraduate students was 10.6 ± 9.3. A significant positive correlation exists between the addiction to mobile phones and depression (P < 0.001, r = 0.241).
Study findings would have been stronger if the assessment could have done on adolescents and teenagers as literature says that addiction toward smartphone is more common among them than in adults. Ruling out psychological problems and personality disorders contributes a major factor which will affect the study findings. Striving to maintain a relationship with their closed ones could be another important variable which influences the time spent over phone.
| Conclusion|| |
Dependency on the use of smartphone is the worldwide problem which is seen in adults. Addiction is manifested when they excessively use smartphone, while they are engaged in other activities such as studying, driving, social gathering, and even while napping. However, a lot of people have not realized that dependency on smartphone use is a serious problem that can have adverse effects on individuals' thoughts, behavior, tendencies, and feelings. The findings of the study conclude that awareness about smartphone addiction will help a student to control his/her emotion, thereby preventing loneliness.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support received from administrative and teaching faculty of the selected colleges and all the participants of the study.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]